International Shcharansky Committee for Human Rights is Established

The organizers and participants in an international tribunal on the Anatoly Shcharansky case announced here that they will continue their efforts on a permanent basis to gain freedom for the Soviet Jewish activist and for all prisoners of conscience in the Soviet Union. Their first move was the establishment of an International Shcharansky Committee for Human Rights. The group is also considering sending a delegation to Moscow.

The committee is chaired by Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Robert Bodinter, a French lawyer. Harry van den Bergh, a Labor member of the Dutch Parliament, is honorary secretary. All had a part in the tribunal which convened here for two days this week under Young’s chairmanship and, after a detailed study of the evidence, concluded that the Soviet government was guilty of a grave miscarriage of justice when it sentenced Shcharansky in 1977 to 13 years in prison.

At a press conference here yesterday, Young said the Shcharansky committee can play a role of its own in the struggle for human rights. The American diplomat was critical of the UN Human Rights Commission. “The problem of the United Nations Human Rights Commission is that the governments of the countries represented thereon have a natural inclination to protect each other’s interests,” he said.

Former Netherlands Prime Minister Johan den Uyl, a Laborite, stressed that while many of those on the committee are “leftwing” like himself and opposed to the Cold War, they also protest when human rights are violated in the Soviet Union. He said the human rights clauses of the Helsinki Final Act, which he himself had signed on behalf of Holland, are still of value but so far they have not been sufficiently implemented.

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